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Freedom of Speech at School. The First Amendment to the US Constitution.

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the first amendment to the us constitution
The First Amendment to the US Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

plain english please
There will be no national religion

The government can’t stop you from exercising your religion, or penalize you for your religion

The government can’t say you can’t say something

The Government can’t say you can’t protest peacefully

The government can’t say you can’t sign a petition

Plain English Please!
article 1 section 5 washington state constitution
Article 1, Section 5, Washington State Constitution
  • Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.
did any of these people actually speak english
Did any of these people actually speak English!?
  • The government can’t stop you from writing something.
  • The government can’t stop you from saying something.
the first change

The First Change

A play on the history of the 1st Amendment

scene one 1776 independence hall philadelphia pennsylvania
Scene One: 1776, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • A group of gentlemen are committing treason by signing a petition
  • This treasonous petition is called the Declaration of Independence
scene two 1789 independence hall philadelphia pennsylvania
Scene Two: 1789, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • The Bill of Rights (including the first amendment) are officially adopted
scene three 2002 juneau alaska
Scene Three: 2002, Juneau, Alaska
  • Joseph Frederick was suspended after holding up a controversial sign across the street from his high school (What was the sign about?)

Juneau High School

still scene three
Still scene three…
  • Joe takes his case all the way to the supreme court
yet again scene three
Yet again, scene three…
  • Joe argued the school infringed on his first amendment rights
  • The school said he was promoting illegal drugs
Joseph didn’t get anything out of his suit.
  • His suspension remained in the records.
the score card
In the Schools favor

Justice Scalia

Justice Kennedy

Justice Tomas

Justice Breyer

Justice Alito

In Frederick’s favor

Justice Stevens

Justice Ginsburg

Justice Souter

The score card
meet the state justices

Meet the State Justices

I interviewed the Justices of the Washington State Supreme Court.

Here are their answers.

My question:Should kids at school have complete free speech? In other words, should the administration be able to censure kids and teens at school?
all rise


The Supreme court is now answering

(Just kidding)

general themes
General Themes
  • Reasonable restrictions.
  • Circumstances
  • Language of the constitution
  • Libel restricted
chief justice gerry alexander
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander
  • Students are not without speech
  • Protesting with a button vs. a sign
  • En loco parentis
justice james johnson
Justice James Johnson
  • There is a strong argument for free speech
  • Morse vs. Fredrick is more likely to be protected in WA
justice mary fairhurst
Justice Mary Fairhurst
  • Reasonable restrictions. “You’re not free to say anything, anywhere, anytime.”
  • “Reasonable time place and manner”
justice susan owens
Justice Susan Owens
  • “Different standards for students than for adults”
  • “The internet is a ginormous (sic) gray area”
  • “Schools are allowed to make stringent rules” (like dress codes)
justice tom chambers
Justice Tom Chambers
  • Originally made an appointment, but had to cancel due to personal issues.
justice richard sanders
Justice Richard Sanders
  • Unable (too busy) to meet with me.
  • Darn.
  • By the way, his office thought I was in college. 
justice barbra madsen
Justice Barbra Madsen
  • Unable to meet with me.
  • Darn. Again.
justice debra stephens
Justice Debra Stephens
  • Unable to meet.
  • *Sigh*
  • Recently appointed on December 4, 2007, to the Supreme Court.
My question:Should kids at school have complete free speech? In other words, should the administration be able to censure kids and teens at school?
aye yes free speech
Aye! (yes, free speech)
  • The first amendment and Art. 1, Sec. 5 guarantee free speech
  • We don’t shed our rights when we walk into school
  • Most teens have the judgment to figure out when and when not to say something
nay not absolute free speech
Nay! (not absolute free speech)
  • Teens might have the judgment, but, do they use it?
  • Someone could say something offensive, like swear, and no-one could do anything
  • Also, the amendment doesn’t guarantee free speech anywhere, it just says congress can’t make a law about it.
ladies and gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please remember to be courteous.

Those in favor of no limits

Those opposed to no limits


don t look at me

Don’t look at me

Think of what to say…